As we look ahead to Christmas, the national Church and the diocese will be providing resources and reflections which link to this year’s theme of Comfort and Joy. The different resources will support worship in schools, in churches and at home.
The theme of Comfort and Joy acknowledges the challenge there will be for so many of us this year, as we are unable to be with loved ones to celebrate Christmas, due to the restrictions imposed by Covid.
- You can find details of the resources for the national Christmas campaign on the Church of England website, including how to get hold of the reflections, the booklet and an app.
This Christmas the Church will need, in the words of St Paul in Romans 12.15, to ‘Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep’. We will aim to celebrate where we can together in one place – but also embrace a wider community that wants to join in the celebration but may not be physically able – or emotionally ready – to do so. We hope that ‘Comfort and Joy’ will enable us to build a campaign that both enables us to reconnect with the rich and joyous traditions of the past and to offer God’s consoling love in the present.
- Our evangelism team has pulled together some creative Christmas church evangelism ideas.
- In Somerset, Rural affairs adviser Rob Walrond will be producing – aided by a full cast – the ‘Real Nativity’, which is normally an outdoor nativity in a farm setting to which schools are invited. This year, it has been filmed on a farm and is available for use in schools or worship services. This is available to download from our YouTube page. If you are interested in creating your own living nativity, please email Rural Affairs Adviser Rob Walrond. He has scripts, props, experience and a host of sheep jokes.
- Advent Carols ‘Into the Light.’ Is a YouTube service for Advent created by the Deanery of Exmoor.
- The diocesan Go team for children and young people are producing a daily video to guide you through Advent which will be available on Instagram and other social media channels.
- And there will also be some very personal reflections from individuals, discussing where they hope to find comfort and joy this Christmas, in the time of Covid.
- The Choir and Organists of Wells Cathedral have spent the second lockdown recording plenty of music for online offerings during Advent. One of these projects is a set of 25 pieces for 25 days – the perfect way to count down to Christmas! A new musical gift will be available every morning throughout Advent from 9am, so don’t forget to visit daily for a festive treat! You can find their musical virtual Advent Calendar on their website or social media channels. They will also be filming some Christmas services.
- Bishop Ruth plans to film a Christmas morning service for those who are isolating at home, which we’ll show here and on our Facebook page.
- South West Carols produced what they believe to be the biggest nativity and carols event in the South West. It will involves schools, local musicians, young people from around the region and the London Community Gospel Choir. Find out more about the event and resources on offer.
- The Environment team has also produced a guide to having a green Christmas. Download the checklist below if you don’t want to forget to care for creation this Christmas. There is also a Big Green Advent Calendar for you to download.
- In a Season of Waiting, a simple course for Advent by Revd Tim Gibson in Illminster deanery.
- Historic England has shared a host creative ideas which may be valuable not only in terms of mission and ministry but the long-term relationships between congregations and the wider community –hugely important for the well-being of individuals and future sustainability. Find them on the Church Support Hub.
- Thank you to Alan Browning from St Mary’s Chard, for sharing this prayer card.
Do keep checking this page for further details, as more events and resources will be added over the next few weeks.